On Tuesday, New York City FC participated in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft. Going into the draft, the Pigeons had two picks. Their first pick was the eighth overall in the first round, and the second one took place in the third round.
Truthfully, the top needs going into the draft was a center-back or striker. That is one opinion, but these positions would be good choices for the club. A drafted center-back could act as depth or a potential starter as needed. Meanwhile, a striker could function as depth in a thin position. One would assume the player would play more with NYCFC II.
NYCFC makes two picks in MLS SuperDraft
In the end, NYCFC's first pick was Malachi Jones, a sophomore forward from Lipscomb University. In his two collegiate years, he has scored 12 times and has 15 assists. In 2023, he scored five times in 17 matches played.
It is unknown whether Jones can play as a striker. This website has not seen him in a game. Moreover, it was not confirmed during the draft. He is a natural winger, which was confirmed by MLS' eligibility list for the draft.
The Pigeons' pick was a little underwhelming based on the talent available. Based on his statistics, he does have potential. At the same time, the Pigeons should have drafted someone who could make an immediate impact. It was also shocking, unless he can play as a striker, that the Bronx side picked Jones over a natural striker.
NYCFC's second pick came in the third round. The team drafted senior Taylor Calheira from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, or UMBC. The player is a natural striker and scored ten goals in 2023. In four seasons, he scored 32 times.
Therefore, NYCFC drafted a striker, which was encouraged and expected. Yet, it is unknown whether Calheira can compete within MLS. Hopefully, the Pigeons will give him a chance with the MLS Next Pro side.
It was not the worst draft for NYCFC. Both picks have the potential and could spend time with the second team. However, center-backs in the SuperDraft are more likely to have success. Teams can find solid defenders that can turn into starters. The Boys in City Blue are also extremely thin at the center-back position. That is why the choice to draft a winger in the first round is puzzling.
Of course, the SuperDraft is one small part of building a MLS roster. Notably, these selections could never see a minute of playing time with New York City FC, let alone be signed to a contract. This was the year the Pigeons could have utilized the draft more than in the past.